You are here: Home >> Salvation, Sin and Judgment >> End Times

PDF of article

The concept of "NAMES" in the Book of Revelation


The Significance of Names

A name represents the person (or object) that is named. In many cultures, it will also tell us something about the person himself, or about significant circumstances or events that may have occurred during his life. Sometimes a name might be changed when a significant event occurred, so that the new name would be a reminder of that event. Also, depending on the circumstances, a person might have more than one name.


A Modern Superstition

Today, there are some people who treat names in the Bible (especially names related to God) in an almost superstitions occult-like manner, as though the utterance of the syllables themselves had some type of magical quality. Some even think that such names must be uttered in the same exact way that they were originally uttered, in the original Hebrew or Greek languages. This is quite silly, considering the fact that we don't know the exact way people uttered those words at the time the Bible was written - we have no recordings of their voices! Linguists themselves often disagree on how vowels were pronounced in ancient languages - if they're even willing to guess. And this doesn't take into consideration the changes in pronunciation that can (and do) occur, as the centuries go by, or the dialects that may exist in different localities. Even the New Testament - originally written in Greek - testifies against this viewpoint, when it mentions the names of people in the Old Testament - originally written in Hebrew.

This misconception can be dispelled when we realize that the important thing is what the word represented, not the syllables themselves.

Names in the Book of Revelation

In the book of Revelation, the concept of "name" occurs quite frequently, and for many reasons. A look at these verses is not only instructive of many things, but also shows the basic pattern of how the concept of "name" is used throughout the rest of the Scriptures.


A. The name of God

  1. The value of God's name, representing God's worth

  2. Some may reject God (his name), but eventually all will bring honor to it.

  3. See also: Section C-1, about God's names being written on his people.


B. The name of Jesus Christ

  1. Some of his names, representing who he is

  2. The value of Jesus' name, representing Jesus' worth

  3. See also: Section C-1, about Jesus' names being written on his people.


C. Names received by God's people

  1. Names written on them (signifying that they belong to God, etc.)

  2. A new name given to them


D. Names identified with the New Jerusalem - the future home of God's people

  1. Names written on the city

  2. See also: Section C-1, about the New Jerusalem's name being written on the inhabitants of the city.


E. Names, either being present in, or absent from the Book of Life

  1. About the "overcomers," whose names are written in the Book of Life

  2. About those whose names are not written in the Book of Life, specifically focusing on those who are alive at the time the "beast" is present


F. "Names" signifying one's "reputation" (whether that reputation is accurate or false)

  1. An "unworthy" name: The reputation ("name") of most of the people at Sardis (who were thought to be "Alive") did not match their actual character (which was actually "Dead") - 3:1. [They were to repent... or they would not be ready when Jesus returned - v. 2-3.]

  2. A "worthy" name: This was true of only a few people ("names") at Sardis, who, unlike the others, would one day walk with Jesus - 3:4. [This would also be true of all other "overcomers" - see 3:5.]

  3. Note: In these two verses, many translations will use the word "reputation" (verse 1) and "people" (verse 4), in order to better communicate the concepts that were a part of the original New Testament Greek word.


G. Names related to specific events in the book of Revelation

  1. Names given to (or associated with) various judgments

  2. Names related to specific evil characters (including characters which may be symbolic)

  3. The name, number and mark of the beast

  4. "Names" representing the people who died in one of the judgments - 11:13.

Dennis Hinks © 2002